sob story


: a sentimental story or account intended chiefly to evoke sympathy or sadness

Example Sentences

She told a sob story about how she had to starve herself to pay for the rent. I don't want to hear any of your sob stories.
Recent Examples on the Web Emily has a hell of a sob story, though her natural discretion and refusal of self-pity keep it from sounding like one. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 11 Aug. 2022 Acknowledging people with disabilities is neither a charitable act nor even the basis of a compelling sob story. Caroline Casey, Fortune, 2 Aug. 2022 Bluntly, a great personal essay should be a bit of a sob story, but this is something many Africans will struggle to do well. Ciku Kimeria, Quartz, 6 Apr. 2022 No one wants to hear another sob story about the middle class Black kid who grew up around white people. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, 1 Feb. 2022 Hollywood loves a good sob story, even if it's nestled within a perfectly innocuous children's film (looking at you, Toy Story 3)., 21 Nov. 2021 But this is not a sob story, or autism explainer, or an after-school special about tolerance. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Jonathan confesses that her sob story evokes nothing in him. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 3 Oct. 2021 In the movie’s emotional and thematic centerpiece scene, Dickie visits him at Christmas and reveals his latest sob story (changing it to claim Giuseppina died of pneumonia), only for Sal to again look right through him. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 1 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sob story.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1913, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sob story was in 1913

Dictionary Entries Near sob story

Cite this Entry

“Sob story.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

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